Back when I was living in Barranquilla, Colombia, I was finishing the end of my time running around South America.
I was there for about 7 months.
Anyway, you can read more about my time in Colombia here.
When I finished up my trip, I remember taking a trip back to the US to spend about a year in Ohio before moving to Mexico City.
Though before going to Ohio, I stopped by Iowa first to see my family.
When I got to the train station in the town, I happened to find that quite a few family members were waiting for me.
Which was surprising since I wasn’t expecting it.
Anyway, we all got going to the house where more family members were waiting for me.
And had some food.
One of the family members – an uncle of mine – said something that I found funny in the moment and in hindsight.
“So Colombia huh….Lots of cocaine there right?” he said.
Which, in hindsight, I think he was a little bit serious about the inquiry.
Granted, I don’t think he had ever been to Colombia before.
So I get in how that would be the first question to ask.
At the time, I told my girlfriend then about his comment over text.
Who happened to be Colombian.
Suffice to say, she didn’t really appreciate the comment as Colombians tend to be pretty sensitive to the image of their country being all about cocaine and Pablo Escobar.
I found the comment funny though.
Anyway, I got moving along to Ohio soon enough after my brief time back in Iowa.
Back in Ohio, I met up with an old friend that I hadn’t seen for a year named Kevin.
A young Ohio guy around my age who I hadn’t seen as I was running around South America as I said.
For those who haven’t ever spent much time abroad, it can be weird seeing folks you knew from before your time abroad again.
Though, in this case, it was only a year since I last saw Kevin.
Even then, there was a weird feeling back.
It’s hard to put it in words after you spent a year abroad in Latin America and then going back to Ohio.
There is a minor bit of reverse culture shock.
Not a ton of reverse culture shock but a tiny bit.
Especially for someone like me who had very limited experience abroad before this.
Just everything really.
The scenery is different.
Things are so much greener and cleaner outside.
Language is different obviously.
You fit into the racial majority again.
Buildings look nicer and better built.
Music is different.
Everything feels safer again.
News seems a shit ton more dramatic (in its own way to be fair).
So anyway I saw Kevin again and it was nice seeing him.
But I remember him making a comment about how he “could never go down there.”
“How come?” I asked.
“Too dangerous. It’s crazy to go to those parts. They got drugs, cartels, violence, etc.” he responded.
Again – the drug focus.
Either way, that’s not an unusual type of thinking among folks outside of Latin America.
I sometimes complain about Latino ignorance regarding foreigners in other countries like in this article here.
But, like I have said elsewhere, ignorance is in every country to be fair.
Though it wasn’t the last time I got the focus on drugs while living down here.
For some reason, it sure seems to be a particular point of interest for folks back home.
The Ultimate Inquiry About Drugs in LATAM
Though I love my sister obviously, she has probably been the most inquisitive about drugs in Latin America.
Ever since my days running around South America….
Maybe a good 6 years or so more or less as of this writing?
Every single year…
She has asked me this question.
“You do cocaine yet, Matt?”
I have no idea why.
I’m not at all familiar with cocaine use.
Never done it before.
On top of my head, I think cocaine users fuck with those noses right?
Like they always touch their noses randomly?
I have no idea.
That’s something that I guess I heard or whatever at some point.
But I don’t think I touch my nose ever at all….
I’m not conscious about it.
But even though I don’t think she has done cocaine…
Well, shit, not that I’m aware of…
She always re asks the question over and over again.
Once a year!
Seems like an annual question she has on the books to get an update on.
Every January 1st, right?
At 3 AM to be exact.
“Yo Matt, this is your sister?”
“Hey, this is weird and everything but uh…..do you do cocaine?”
“Ok, cool, thx bye”
I even asked her about it recently.
Because about a month ago she asked the same question!
Well, not exactly a month ago but more or less when we last had a conversation.
And I asked her – “how come you ask me this every year?”
Not mad or nothing.
Just curious if I give off some cocaine vibe.
Like I’m a Rolling Stones type of character.
They did cocaine, right?
Well, she didn’t have an answer but was always curious.
Given “how common drugs are down there,” then surely I must’ve done it by now!
I guess maybe she saw it like popping a cherry for time in Latin America.
Can’t really say you been to Latin America until you’ve done some cocaine, right?
Well, maybe that’s the logic there – who knows.
But it’s a funny example I guess.
Of a very minor and funny little aspect of dealing with folks back home.
Friends and family who are curious about drugs in Latin America.
To the uncle who was curious if bags of cocaine are just laying around on every street of Barranquilla…
To Kevin who is worried that cocaine trafficking cartels led by the spirit of Pablo Escobar will kill him.
To the sister who is just curious when I’ve gone on a crazy cocaine filled party.
You know – probably with hot Venezuelan prostitutes and a giant yacht.
Maybe a bit of a crazy party like in this video here of this tour company that planned on bringing down lots of foreigners for fun.
Sure looks like a lot of fun….
How come nobody invited me?
Anyway, that’s that really.
Like I said, just a very minor detail about dealing with folks back home when you decide to live abroad in Latin America.
At least in my case, it hasn’t been unusual for folks curious about drugs down here.
Which is the point – the curiosity about drugs and all in Latin America.
I could bring up more examples as isn’t too uncommon of an inquiry.
Anyway, if you have any similar questions or experiences…
Drop them below in the comments.
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